Cuba struggles silently to recover from Sandy

By November 29, 2012

Cuba (MNN) — A month after Hurricane Sandy hit Cuba, outbreaks of cholera and dengue fever have been reported in eastern parts of the country.

Last month's high winds and rain caused massive flooding. In some of the hardest-hit areas like Santiago de Cuba, residents hadn't seen anything like it in 60 years. Economic losses have yet to be published, but the impact was severe.

The devastation caused by the monster storm in late October was made worse by the poor state of many buildings. CH Dyer with Bright Hope International says they started getting phone calls asking for help throughout the eastern provinces.

Santiago de Cuba province reports many houses collapsed, and the church Wesley was damaged, too. Many churches which meet in houses are destroyed. Communication is sporadic and difficult: through cell phones reports, partners are reporting that the town Arroyo Blanco was devastated, including the church. The parsonage there is without roof. The community in Alcala also reported heavy damages, as well as Holguin.

Dyer says, "We are asking for prayer. In Cuba, we are doing our best efforts to reach–as soon as possible–the affected places."

Why hasn't it gotten as much attention as Haiti and the U.S.? Dyer explains, "The government in Cuba just doesn't want people to know, and [they are] not willing to go seek help for its people."

In the last decade, Bright Hope has been supporting 630 church planters in Cuba. Through this partnership, thousands of Cubans have been blessed. Bright Hope has helped to rebuild churches, provided hundreds of bicycles for pastors, and supported pastor training workshops and evangelistic Christmas dinners that fed thousands. These holistic programs have created a solid base from which the church is set to explode when Cuba is opened.

Bright Hope is trying to raise $100,000 to help families who've lost everything. "As soon as we receive that money, we're sending it down to Cuba."

Prayer is needed, too. "You can just pray for strength for the pastors as they deal with their own home situations, and for clarity as they continue to have Gospel services." Cuban church leaders are predicting that in the 9-18-month period after Cuba's political sanctions are lifted, thousands of people will be exposed to the Gospel for the first time.

Bright Hope is excited to continue building the local church in Cuba so many more people will come to know Christ in the coming years. Despite the delay that comes from Sandy's interruption, the ministry team says the best is yet to come.

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